GM won't borrow an additional $14 billion
General Motors Co. said Thursday that it won't seek $14.4 billion in direct loans from the U.S. Department of Energy to pay for retooling factories to make more fuel-efficient vehicles and auto components.
The loans were available to the Detroit automaker as part of $25-billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program approved by Congress in 2007.
GM officials said the move was part of the company's strategy of carrying "minimal" debt.
"This decision is based on our confidence in GM's overall progress and strong, global business performance," said Chris Liddell, GM vice chairman and chief financial officer.
"Our forgoing government loans will not slow our aggressive plans to bring more new vehicles and technologies to the market as quickly as we can," Liddell said. "We will continue to make the necessary investments to assert our industry leadership in technology and fuel economy."
The automaker successfully used a 2009 bankruptcy restructuring to shed factories, workers and debt and trim expenses to the point where it can make money even in an auto market that remains slow by historical standards.
GM has logged three consecutive profitable quarters -– including a $2-billion gain in the third quarter -- and is on track to have its first full-year profit since 2004. The company is expected to report its full 2010 financial results in the coming weeks.
In midday trading, GM shares rose 49 cents, or more than 1%, to $38.38
-- Jerry Hirsch